Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bone collector

I can finally see the light at the end of this chickenpox inferno! Fiona broke out with chickenpox on Sunday, so began our third week of chickenpox. Iain took this illness like a trooper, but Fiona being the delicate "white" thing that she is, has had what she feels is a rougher time of it. The idea that the louder the scream the more pain and anguish my babes must be experiencing, would mean that Fiona had chickenpox 10 times worse than Iain! The screaming, thrashing, tears to her knees, and inconsolable by either parent, was almost at the "This Is Too Much" line for Jake and I.Sunday, 1st day of outbreak
Tuesday, 2nd day of outbreak

Iain still thinks he has chickenpox, so when I am "anointing" Fiona with lavender oil, he needs to take off all of his clothes for "oil, oil" as well. The little boy might have a couple of straggling scabs, but nothing close to the festering, aggravated pox that his sister has at the moment. She needs more attention! She needs the oil, Iain! "Mama! MAMA! Shirt! Off! Help! MAMAAAAAAaaaa!!" Oh wait, I guess Iain is dramatic too.

The light at the end of the tunnel is the fact that Fiona is not feverish anymore, and the festering pox marks are getting some nice huge scabs instead of inflating to look like small egg sacks all over her body. I feel like we have been living in some strange science fiction series...a chickenpox outbreak! Ahh! Fevers, sores, scabs, fluid...Today, Fiona is sleeping peacefully, while Iain is off on a Nani date. He couldn't wait to leave the house, and as soon as she set foot in the door, his bag was packed and he was ready to dash out to her fabulous car! "Nani! Car! Nani?!!! Car!!" On this mild July day, with the sky full of rain clouds and those clouds dumping occasionally, it is perfect weather for bone broth!

Of course the bone broth, had to be accompanied with a disagreement with Husband. "It's too hot for soup."'s too hot for soup, but we are all wearing pants today, and some of us want to grab a sweatshirt. Sorry, Husband, I am making bone broth and then the lovely chicken and dumpling soup that will feel so great...and by the way...does this temperature issue with the food mean that you would be perfectly fine eating ham sandwiches for the rest of the summer? I await your rebuttal, with pleasure!Our two little parade goers on the 4th of July

First about my bone collection in the freezer. To some, it may seem creepy. However, I stash all bones from all meat products in the freezer until I have time to make broth. It is so much cheaper and healthier than buying store bought chicken broth, and then I use the broth in place of water for cooking rice or pasta. There are some serious vitamins and minerals that come out of the bones during the broth making, and I need to say again how stinkin' economical it is to make chicken/beef broth! In the old days, nothing was wasted, and people had to make that Sunday chicken or roast last for the entire week. We feel so recession proof when we buy a whole chicken, eat it for one meal, make chicken salad, chicken pot pie, chicken tacos, or chicken enchiladas with the second round of meat, and THEN have a little wing and thigh meat on the "frame" to make a nutritious and hearty stock with soup that goes for another couple of days. By just adding a few extra things in with the chicken leftovers, we can have meals for a week with our protein coming in around $5-$6. It is getting a little bit trickier with Iain and Fiona loving the chicken so much on the first day "chiky, chiky!!!" so at some point we may need to increase to two birds. When I am a good bone saver, I typically will have one chicken frame frozen and use the second fresh one to make a huge stockpot (3-4 gallons) of broth.

After making broth, here is my most favorite(est) chicken and dumpling soup recipe:
Chicken and "Noodle" Dumplings
2 cups onions, diced
2 cups carrot, sliced diagonally 1/4" thick
1 cup celery, diced
2 t. minced fresh thyme
1 t. minced fresh rosemary
1 t. minced fresh sage
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 T. fresh lemon juice
8 cups chicken stock/broth
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 cup frozen peas
salt and white pepper
1 rcipe Noodle Dumplings (to follow)
FINISH WITH: Tabasco to taste
Sweat onion, carrot, celery, and herbs in butter in a covered Dutch oven or large pot over medium-low heat. Cook for 15 minutes, or until carrot is fork tender. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute.
Deglaze with wine and lemon juice, then whisk in broth, milk, and cream. Remove and reserve 1 cup of the milk-broth mixture, then add chicken, peas, salt and pepper.
Prepare noodle dumplings:
WHISK TOGETHER: 1 egg and the reserved milk-broth
3 cups all purpose flour (here is where I will substitute Spelt flour)
2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. baking powder (don't forget this ingredient!)
Egg broth mixture
Whisk egg and reserved milk-broth together; set aside.
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl; make a well and stir in egg-broth mixture until a stiff dough forms. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface; cut in half and roll each piece 1/8" thick. Cut dough into 1 1/2 x 4" strips, then add to simmering soup 1 or 2 at a time, stirring after each addition. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until dumplings are cooked and no longer doughy.

This recipe makes 2 1/2 quarts or 10-12 servings. Enough to feed a small army!! We love having this for leftovers for the next week, and although Husband isn't in the mood, he normally loves "Chicken Pot Pie Soup." That is his name for this recipe. The recipe is borrowed from Cuisine at Home, and I have never had one bad recipe from this magazine. Some tips about the dumplings: A large pot with plenty of space between the liquid and the lid is essential so steam envelopes the dumplings during cooking. Mix the dumplings just until the dough forms. Like biscuits and pie crust, they can be tough if the dough is over mixed. As bubbles barely break the surface of the strew, steam sets the starch in the flour. This reduces the chance that dumplings will break due to agitation, clump together, or absorb too much liquid and become soggy. Be sure the dumplings have enough room to float and expand without touching.

I don't recommend freezing the dumplings, but freezing the soup is great. You can add fresh dumplings when you reheat. We love having chicken broth on hand in our freezer. By having a good supply saved up, it was nourishing during the crazy illness I had in April (could it have been Swine Flu) when I thought I was going to die after 9 days of a fever scorching my eye balls. The bone broth is great for replenishing electrolytes. Those crazy docs tell you to drink a bunch of High Fructose Corn Syrupy Gatorade, and I can't stand that garbage! I just kept heating and drinking cups of chicken broth. Very nourishing!Blurry photo, but I caught the dogs just lying next to each other in the yard, not running around mad or growling at each other.

So Husband, I have cleaned out my collection and will be replacing the bones with broth. Of course I won't expect you to eat any food when you come home tonight, since everything will be too hot. And by the way, I love you Husband! but seriously! This indecisiveness about the menu at the Josephs is very draining on a housewife. It should be a requirement that suggestions are made in advance...advance would mean before 5pm for dinner that night, so that the housewife can have a healthy, HOT meal ready when said breadwinner walks through the door. It would give me a great sense of accomplishment, if the hot dinner was not looked down upon, or ones nose turned up at said meal. I love you, Honey, but seriously! I know I am not perfect, but throw me a freaking bone here!Fiona on the 4th of July, her 15 month birthday!


Anonymous said...

I only said it was too hot because you told me last month that Chili was too hot for the summer when I asked for it. I love you too!

Julene said...

You two are so funny! I vote soup and chili anytime, anywhere! Greg disagrees. Like it that you included the recipe, Erin.